Sunday, October 25, 2009

Cake a little on the Dark Side

With Fall's appearance and the holidays just around the corner my hands have been awfully itchy, which only means one thing: I need to bake! I recently ordered some decorating tools from Pampered Chef, using one of the last unused wedding gift certificates. Being a budding cake decorator I thought it was time I got my own set of icing bags and tips. I was ecstatic when they arrived but didn't use them right away. I always wait for a reason to bake cake so I'm not left to eat it all. When I found there were two October birthdays in the Sunday school class Paul and I teach, and when lotion wouldn't sooth the itching in my hands, I knew it was time to break out the cake mix and food coloring. Since Halloween is this week Jack-o-lanterns seemed to be a good design. How hard could that be?

(Click for a closer look. . . if you dare!)
I am not as gifted with a piping bag as I thought I would be. Clearly. So I only decorated three cupcakes with faces and the leftover nine had to settle for plain orange frosting. I seemed to be pretty good at a plain orange swirl thankfully. But I was tired of cup cakes and still had half of my cake batter. I poured it in my one round cake pan and tossed it in the oven.

Since I live at a high elevation I decided to try the high elevation settings on the box (trying to avoid this again). Because the cake was chocolate it didn't look burt, but it was. The edge was dry and crusty and tasted like the peice of cereal you find on an occasion that's completely black and you think to yourself, "Don't put that in your mouth!" and you do anyway only to regret it considering it tastes like something you'd pull out of the bottom of a grill. Yeah, it tasted mildly like that. And although I greased and floured the cake pan, it still got stuck and came out in two rather misshapen pieces. Much to my surprise, it was relatively flat and pretty on top.

That poor cake, that had already gone through so much in the oven and cooling rack, would become a test cake for all newly delivered decorating tips, bags, and ideas we'd been gathering. And we went to town.
Paul tried to use up all of the remaining frosting as creatively as he could, and I had some fun with it as well. We tried basket weaves, stars, writing, patterns, and were so proud of our festive creation we decided to try something else we've never done before: cinematography.


Director - Kayla

Writer - Kayla

(in order of appearance)
Paul - himself
Cake - itself

Voice Work - Kayla

Produced By - Paul

Original music by - John Williams

Editing - The Camera

Art Direction -Paul

Set Decoration - Kayla

Costume Design - (. . .)

Makeup Department - Kayla

Production Management -Paul

Second unit director -Paul

Sound department - Harvey the Laptop

Visual effects - Paul

Stunts - Paul

camera & electrical department - Kayla

casting department - Kayla

costume & wardrobe department - Paul

Music department - Kayla

Transportation - Paul


Sunday, October 18, 2009

What to say about death?

The past two weeks I have heard of three deaths that have happened in my current ward or in my home ward across town. I admit, I find myself a bit shaken up and thinking about it often. But my thoughts on death began before that. One Sunday evening my family gathered at my parents house to celebrate my father's birthday. Paul and I arrived early, took my uncle to the airport, and still returned before the rest of the extended relatives came. With time to burn, Dad asked if I wanted to swing with him in the backyard. As we drifted back and forth in the metal porch swing and my Sunday heals drilled holes in the dirt my dad mentioned a book he'd been reading about near death experiences. He remembered stories where people died, vital signs failed, but they came back to life moments later. And in those moments they were given a choice. Nie nie relates her experience while in a coma from a devastating plain crash: "[I was] with somebody who told me that I could choose to live and have a hard life, you know, embarrassing at times and painful. Or, I could just stay there, and there's lots of work I could do there too."

I know a big part of why we're here is to make choices. We fought a war for agency long ago. Satan would have the world fear death. He makes it seem to final, painful, and dark. He wouldn't want God's children knowing that we have choice in that as well. He wants us to feel as powerless as possible. For me, knowing people have been given a choice only strengthened my testimony of the principle of moral agency and the power that comes with righteous choices. And I have to express my admiration for those who have chose to stay because I simply don't know if I could make that choice in the condition they were in.

But then I heard of a death on Friday that shook me to the core. I can't describe the confusion I felt by the loss of my new theory of choice and death. I don't think that 32 year old father of six beautiful girls and one gorgeous wife would choose to leave them. We must not always get a choice in death. . . maybe getting a choice is the exception. I was frustrated that I couldn't explain to myself what had happened. I just didn't understand. I still don't.

But I know one thing: the peace the Lord brought me in all my musings was sweet and real. The confirmation he gave to me that temple marriage is eternal was powerful and calming. Because Christ atoned for our sins, hung on the cross, and raised from the tomb we, too, can overcome death and be with our loved ones again. Sometimes, that's all we need to know.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Good gravy!

If you were to peek through my front window at about five o'clock this evening, my, what a sight you'd have seen. Paul texted me at about four to tell me he'd be home early and I was a picture of delight. I plopped the roast in the oven with a smattering of carrots and onions before starting the gravy. Let me modify that last statement: before attempting to start the gravy. There was just one kink in the hose. I could not open the bouillon. Usually, this particular task falls upon my dear husband because he is very strong and I am. . . not. But Paul was still at school, and I needed to make a delicious beef gravy! So I tried to open the jar on my own. The lid would not budge. I tapped it ever so lightly on the corner of the counter. Someone once told me if you tap the sealed part of a jar on the counter it miraculously makes it easier to open. The logic of this somehow alludes me but I thought I would give it a shot. I tapped and twisted and tapped and twisted and grunted and twisted and tapped once more. The jar was not coming open.

I retreated to the office where I could search through the tool drawer. I knew of something that might help and the yellow grippy glove I sought was there, dropped lazily over a screw driver and an old extension cord. I picked it up with my left hand, my cheeks pulling the corners of my mouth up into a broad smile. On the back of the glove it read, "MEGA GRIP", which was precisely what I needed. I slipped the glove on and twisted and twisted. I ran to the living room and sat down on the couch for leverage. I continued my prehistoric grunting and my face wrinkled up into a freckled mess. I lopped over onto the floor and twisted some more. I kept telling myself that if I just kept twisting, the lid would eventually come loose. My hands started to hurt and the excess blood pulsing through my cranium was making me dizzy. I set the jar on the carpet angrily and pressed my chin on the floor level with my new nemesis, glaring profusely. I studied the lid and with desperate eyes began to recite a poem.

Lefty loosey,
Righty tighty.

Noooo! I was twisting righty tighty! How would I ever get the lid off now? I ran back to the kitchen. Tap tap tap!! Tap!! I twisted and twisted. With the bright yellow glove on my hand, Michael Jackson style, I twisted some more. I sat down on the couch for leverage, flopped over to the floor, twisted, grunted, squirmed, cried, and twisted of course. I sat the jar in front of me again. I was defeated. . . defeated by an eight ounce jar half full of beef bouillon. I would just have to wait until that man I love returned home to start gravy. But then my mind carried me to a place that is never safe to go. I once read a book called The Outsiders where a gang member broke the top off a coke bottle and used the sharp edge to fight. I had no intention of fighting with my bouillon jar but maybe I could break the top off on the concrete steps outside. . . or maybe not. Maybe I could wait for Paul.

I pick up the jar and walked to the fridge and decided to try once more. I half-heartedly turned the lid to the left and. . . POP! It opened! AHHH! All it took was my gentle twist and off it came. I starred at the lid in my hand with such confusion. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. But I did neither. Paul would be home any minute, I needed to make gravy, and I had no time to loose.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A picture is worth a thousand words

I was reading the Ensign for this month and it had an article about blogging. It instructed bloggers to not be too long winded . . . But I'm not a blogger, I'm a writer, and therefore need excluded from that instruction. However, to be fair to bloggers everywhere I thought I'd try it out. So here are some pictures of why I love food with minimal caption.

It's looks good to me!

It's fun to play with.

It can take on many shapes.

It smells great. Especially after sitting all day. :)

It sounds so appetizing and mouth watering.

It tastes delicious and can be shared with people you love.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

With hair disheveled . . .

My blog used to be titled "Feeling Berry." It was a little twist on my new name, and I thought it would clever. I had heard a little about the blogging world and was under the distinct impression that you had to have a cutsie name and theme. I thought you had to have some code name for your spouse like Mr. L or B-Honey. I posted two posts "feeling berry something" as my title and hated it. It wasn't me. Sometimes I didn't really know how I was feeling, but I knew I wasn't quite feeling like a "Berry".

My life was changing a lot. That road I had pictured before me for so long was drifting from my vision as I began to realize it would never be. I felt as though the 'me' that I knew was withering and I needed an escape somewhere I could revisit that old girl and those old dreams. I needed something to do to keep my mind from sinking into depression. I began writing. It was always something I enjoyed, and it let me open up. To express more fully what I was really feeling though, I needed more freedom than my limited theme allowed. To make the blog truly mine I had to rename it.

"With Hair Disheveled" was a short story I began writing shortly after graduating high school. It's title was derived from the description of the main character who was anything but extraordinary, with no great destiny to fulfill, and was, well, frumpy. My goal was to write about a real person with no happy ending. But I never finished the story. As I gained a greater understanding of the gospel of Christ and shook off the last dregs of my teenage angst I realized that if we keep the commandments, seek forgiveness through repentance, and endure to the end there will be a happy ending-- if maybe not in this life then surely the next-- because as children of Deity we do have a great destiny to fulfill.

My sister came over tonight to have dinner with me and Paul, and I didn't clean up special for her visit. I thought about it. I wanted everything to look perfect when she came and for her to be impressed by my amazing decorating and cooking and and homemaking skills. I wanted her to see how happy and put-together I was. But I'm not perfect, and it's hard pretending to be when I'm fooling no one. Sometimes it's okay if someone comes over and my cookbooks are sitting on the couch from menu making, and my heart won't stop beating if they see we didn't make our bed this morning, and the world will not stop turning if dishes are in the sink unwashed when company arrives.

My dinners are not perfectly cooked, my house is not always spotless, and I will not always have a job I love or be able to afford school when I want because my life is not those fantasy books I read. Everything will not always go according to my plan. But I'm still going to be okay. My disheveled hair and unvacuumed floor won't last forever, but they remind me to be a little better everyday and to just keep swimming because this, too, shall pass.

Neal A. Maxwell once said, "As part of his infinite atonement, Jesus . . . has Borne the sins, griefs, sorrows. . . and pains of every man, woman, and child. Having been perfected in his empathy, Jesus thus knows how to succor us . . . Nothing is beyond his redeeming reach or His encircling empathy. Therefore, we should not complain about our own life's not being a rose garden when we remember who wore the crown of thorns!"